Hormone imbalances are a leading cause of sexual dysfunction in men and women. There is a natural decline of sex hormones that occurs with age, but imbalances are no longer limited to aging populations. Men and women as young as twenty are reporting a loss of libido, and difficulties with erections, arousal and orgasms. Below are six shocking reasons why hormone imbalances have become so widespread, and sexual difficulties so common.
Dairy and Other Xenoestrogens
Dairy is loaded with estrogen and consuming it can lead to sexual dysfunction by worsening estrogen dominance.[i] Estrogen dominance is a harmful health condition that occurs in both genders and is caused by either too much estrogen or a high estrogen-to-progesterone ratio in the body. This condition has reached epidemic proportions thanks not only to a heavy emphasis on dairy in the American diet, but also to other xenoestrogens (environmental estrogens). Some leading sources of xenoestrogens include meat, poultry, tap water, pesticides, herbicides, and many modern-day consumer and personal care products. Estrogen dominance wreaks havoc on your body, and can lead to numerous sexual side-effects including loss of libido, infertility, testosterone deficiency, female breast swelling and tenderness; male breast growth, and erectile dysfunction.[ii][iii]
In 2007, it became mandated that all US mattresses must contain enough Fire Retardant Chemicals to withstand a 2-foot wide blowtorch open flame for 70 seconds. These chemicals are not only sprayed on mattresses, they are also commonly used on couches, car seats, building insulation, and electronics. Fire retardant chemicals are highly toxic and our continuous exposure to them causes a toxic build-up in the body. These endocrine disrupters burden the liver and contribute to estrogen dominance and other hormone irregularities – all of which can lower your libido and lead to sexual dysfunction.[iv] Brominated fire retardants can also trigger sexual dysfunction in a less direct way, by damaging your thyroid gland, adrenal glands, and cardiovascular health. [v][vi]
The birth control pill is a leading cause of a loss of sexual desire in women of reproductive age. The pill increases SHBG (sex hormone binding globulin) and SHBG binds to testosterone.[vii] This can lead to long term testosterone deficiencies and low testosterone can cause a woman to lose interest in sex and to experience reduced sexual sensitivity. The pill is also problematic because the estrogens in it can contribute to estrogen dominance, which as mentioned earlier, has numerous sexual ramifications. A third way in which the pill can ruin your sex drive is by placing an extra burden on your liver, the consequences of which we will explore next.[viii]
Poor Liver Health
The liver plays a key role in metabolizing and detoxifying toxic estrogens and an overexposure to xenoestrogens can overwhelm the liver. Overtime the liver function can become compromised and its ability to metabolize estrogens reduced. The build-up of toxic estrogens can then trigger or worsen estrogen dominance and its symptoms. Liver disease is associated with a loss of libido, testicular shrinking, breast enlargement, and a significant reduction of both total and free testosterone levels.[ix][x] And the effects aren’t subtle, one study found over 50% of men with liver cirrhosis experience feminization and erectile dysfunction.[xi] Poor liver health can also affect sexual functioning on an energetic level. In Taoism and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), it has long been taught that the liver controls the flow of sexual energy or chi, in the body. According to TCM a weakened liver can result in a reduced flow of energy to the genitals and difficulty with achieving orgasms.[xii][xiii]
Vitamin D Deficiency
Ever notice that you tend to feel friskier in the summer or during a sunny vacation? This is no coincidence. Vitamin, D3 has a chemical structure similar to a hormone and it increases Luteinizing Hormone (LH) levels. This is beneficial because LH helps you release testosterone and testosterone plays a leading role in libido and sexual functioning in both genders. Low D3 can also lead to an estrogen deficiency in women, and too little estrogen is just as much of a libido killer as too much. Restoring vitamin D levels may also help reduce cortisol output. This is beneficial because elevated cortisol is a major libido killer and cortisol is produced at the expense of testosterone, so chronically high levels can contribute to a testosterone deficiency.[xiv][xv][xvi][xvii]
The pituitary gland is a pea sized gland located at the base of the brain. It is often referred to as the “master gland” because it produces critical hormones and also controls the hormone-generating glands in your body, including the thyroid, adrenals, and testicles. Traumatic brain injury (TBI) can damage the pituitary gland and cause several hormone imbalances, and according to one study, 30% of TBI patients experience pituitary damage.[xviii] The sex hormone imbalances pituitary damage often leads to can cause several sexual symptoms including impotence, reduced fertility, and altered sex drive.[xix] The injury itself may be big or small and some common causes include sports-related injuries, falls, car accidents, domestic violence, or simply hitting your head accidently. Sometimes the symptoms won’t show up until weeks or years later and you may not even remember the incident which can make it hard to make the connection. Also, worth noting, with mild brain injury the damage may not be identifiable with conventional medical screening tools, but you may suffer with hormone imbalances and sexual difficulties nonetheless.[xx] [xxi]
You can reduce your exposure to xenoestrogens by filtering your water, using organic cleaning and personal care products, and vastly reducing you’re your consumption of dairy and other animal products. If money permits, find a mattress that meets the US flammability standard with non-toxic materials such as wool. Also, consume cruciferous vegetables abundantly because they contain two special nutrients – DIM and I3C, which detoxify harmful estrogens. For a more pronounced effect, or to reverse estrogen dominance, take EstroBlock. Each serving of EstroBlock contains the equivalent dose of DIM and I3C as two pounds of raw, cruciferous vegetables. If tests indicate low testosterone levels, get more rest, optimize zinc and vitamin D levels, exercise regularly, and take an herbal testosterone boosting supplement such as TestroVida. If you are on the birth control pill, consider using condoms, or the Ortho Evra patch; or combining the withdrawal method (don’t use this on its own) with fertility awareness.
To enhance your liver health, consume a wholefoods, plant-based diet, eliminate or reduce alcohol and sugar, and take LivDTox. LivDTox contains a blend of herbs that are clinically proven to cleanse and support the liver and aid in the clearance of toxic estrogens. To optimize vitamin D levels, get 15 minutes of full skin sun exposure daily, use a vitamin D lamp, or take a D3 supplement. Finally, if you have experienced any type of head injury work with a functional medicine practitioner to identify and correct potential hormone imbalances. If hormone replacement therapy is needed, use bioidentical hormones because they are safer, have fewer side-effects, and are typically more effective.
[iv] https://www.nature.com › scientific reports › articles